Uniting two ancient arts, equine yoga has emerged to show that even some of the oldest art forms can be refreshed with a new twist. Horseback riders have known for a while that yoga is an excellent tool to aid their flexibility, core strength, and balance. However, equestrians have been moving poses from the mat to the saddle, and it could even be improving their relationships with their horses.
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A photo posted by Sheryl Jordan (@s_jordan3) on Nov 16, 2016 at 4:58pm PST
"What if you could easily tune into your pet's healing, comforting, and constant love, and in doing so, tap into a universal calm and a more enlightened way of being in the world? This is precisely what the animal method allows you to do,” asks Pamela Robins of Meditating With Animals.
Besides adding new challenges to a yoga routine, equine yoga can provide a bonding experience between you and your horse, fostering trust and love. While some poses could be dangerous to attempt on horseback, a few are well-suited for the task.
Try a few of these poses next time you’re with your horse, regardless of your experience level. There’s a #neighmaste pose for everyone!
- Saddle Twist. Twist your torso backwards while sitting in your saddle, turning your chest outward and using your hands to balance yourself by gripping the side of the saddle with one hand and the back of the saddle with the other.
- Saddle Camel. Prepare your posture for a ride by putting your hands behind you, grabbing the edge of the saddle, and pushing to raise your chest upward. Your back will arch and you can feel free to tip your head back and soak in a beautiful sky view.
- Upward Bow Pose. Lie on your horse with your knees bent and your heels drawn close to your buttocks. Place your palms overhead and bend your elbows, keeping your forearms parallel and your head on your horse with your fingers pointing toward your feet. Lift your body higher, drawing your head off the floor and arching your back.
- Downward Dog. Starting on your hands and knees, stretch out your arms and lift your knees off the horse, bringing your body into an arrow shape that points upward. Slowly straighten out your legs without locking your knees and spread your fingers out for balance.
- Crow pose. Squat on your horse facing backwards and place your hands in front of you and between your legs with your knees pointing outward and wide. Slowly shift your weight forward, sliding your knees onto your triceps while bending your elbows, but keep your toes on the horse for balance. Pull your thighs against the sides of your torso, look forward, and lift one foot after the other, straightening out your arms.
You won’t be alone in this new yoga practice. Instagram is teeming with people pairing equestrian athleticism with their yoga practice. #HorseYoga and #PastureYoga are a couple of places to find these enthusiasts getting real connected with nature. And be sure to follow accounts like @Horse_Yoga_Girl and @Yoga.Horse.